How Often Do I Really Need to Floss?

Jun 01, 2023
How Often Do I Really Need to Floss?
Many people struggle to floss their teeth regularly. If you’re one of them, you may be wondering how often you really need to do it. Keep reading for the answer.

If you don’t enjoy flossing your teeth, you’re not alone. One study reported that 36% of people would rather do something unpleasant, such as cleaning the toilet, than floss their teeth. If you feel the same, you might be tempted to skip your dentist’s advice about flossing. 

If you’d rather skip flossing your teeth, we understand. But there are still several very good reasons why you should try to make the effort. The providers at Whole Body Dental in Bellevue, Washington, explain more about how often you should floss and why it’s an important part of preventative dentistry.

Why you should floss

Flossing your teeth is something your dentist always recommends, but you may not understand why. Isn’t brushing your teeth good enough?

While brushing your teeth is important in itself, flossing is an important second step. Flossing removes the bacteria from between your teeth, which your toothbrush usually can’t reach. When that bacteria remains in between your teeth, it can turn into plaque, which then hardens into tartar.

You’re also more likely to get cavities between your teeth if you don’t floss them. In addition, not flossing makes you much more likely to get gingivitis and gum disease. Gum disease itself can lead to additional serious health problems, such as heart disease and even premature birth if you’re pregnant. 

How often to floss

You should floss once a day, in addition to brushing your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes.

To properly floss, you should wind the floss around your fingers and hold the ends of the floss between your thumb and forefinger. You want to wrap the floss around each tooth in a C-shape, reaching down to your gums to remove all the bacteria.

You should move the floss in an up-and-down motion, rather than in a sawing type of back-and-forth motion.

Although flossing is important, it is possible to overdo it. You shouldn’t regularly make your gums bleed as a result of flossing.

Alternatives to flossing

While instruments such as floss picks can be useful when you have something stuck between your teeth, they’re really not sufficient in themselves as an alternative to floss.

However, if you really hate flossing, you can often use interdental picks or better yet, a water-powered flosser, such as a Waterpik®.

If you don’t know how to floss

It’s possible that you may not know how to floss your teeth. Don’t be embarrassed if this is the case! All you need to do is ask your hygienist for a demonstration of how to do it. Our staff is more than happy to teach you what you need to do.

The takeaway

You should make a dedicated effort to floss your teeth more often, if for no other reason than because we know that people who regularly floss their teeth tend to have fewer cavities and better overall oral health than those who do not.

You may try to get away without flossing, but dentists can usually tell if you regularly floss or not. Our intent is to never make you feel ashamed of visiting the dentist. But you can be more assured of getting an “all clear” report after a dental exam and cleaning if you regularly floss your teeth.

If you’re due for a cleaning, contact the providers at Whole Body Dental today or request an appointment online.